April 2015 | Philip Chacko

'We will deliver tangible value to our customers'

Tata Motors plans to equip its commercial vehicles with advanced technologies to cater to the future needs of its customers. Excerpts from an interview with Ravi Pisharody, executive director – commercial vehicles business unit.

Can the optimism about an economic upswing in India be turned into substantial gain for the commercial vehicles industry?
Over the past few months there has been an improvement in the utilisation of trucks. During this time the M&HCV sector has benefitted from the positive economic sentiment, firm freight rates, improved freight availability, lower fuel prices, improved profitability of truck operators, the cut in excise duty, and from road and infrastructure projects getting cleared.

What kind of breakthroughs are you aiming for in the commercial vehicles business, in technology, marketing, engineering, etc.?
Tata Motors is working with a well-defined plan to equip its commercial vehicles with advanced technologies to cater to the current and future needs of customers. All our new platform ranges are 'package protected' for the latest technologies from the concept phase itself. For example, the Prima is equipped with automatic transmission, besides being validated with automated manual transmission. Also, we have a proven hybrid technology in our bus product line.

Besides the technologies that we have already planned for, there will be some that are driven by regulations, such as anti-lock braking systems. These apart, Tata Motors is looking at introducing a few segment-leading technologies in its various commercial vehicles segments, like stop-start, hill-hold, twin-speed rear axles, etc. We want to continue to provide superior value to our customers.

Learn more about Tata Motors’ plans to augment revenues through export-led growth. Watch the video
Could you list the prospects of the commercial vehicles business over a five-year period?
At Tata Motors we constantly launch new products and services and introduce upgrades of existing ones. We have realised that the main driver is the cost of operations in the life cycle of the commercial vehicle. It is about breakdown, reliability and mileage. Every year, our design and development people look at making 5 percent improvements on these fronts. We are focused on providing much better mileage and we are paying more attention to design and styling. These will add up.

With regard to our international business, we have taken a strategic decision to put in place a globally diversified setup to better manage the cyclical nature of the business. Our focus regions for future growth, apart from our traditional markets of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, will be Southeast Asia, Russia and its neighbours, and Latin America. We have made significant progress with our plans for Southeast Asia, while Russia and Latin America remain works in progress.

This is an excerpt of the interview from the April 2015 issue of Tata Review in which chief executives of 14 Tata companies speak about the performance of their companies in the year gone by and their plans for the future:
Tata Consultancy Services: 'At TCS, it's always about the team'
Read the complete interviews and more in Tata Review
Jaguar Land Rover: 'Will deliver 12 significant product actions in next 12 months'
Tata International: 'Scale is necessary for a trading company'
Tata Steel: Driven by innovation
Tata Steel Europe: 'European countries remain the key to our success'
Tata Motors (passenger cars): 'We plan to introduce two new vehicles every year'
Tata Chemicals: 'Fiscal 2016 is going to be a year of consolidation for us'
Tata Global Beverages: 'The global market is vital to our health'
Titan Company: 'Will continue to explore opportunities in lifestyle space'
Tata Communications: 'Mindset is the key'
Rallis India: 'Want to be among the most valuable companies in our domain'
Tata Technologies: 'We see opportunities in aerospace and defence'
Voltas: 'We look forward to deploying our strengths...'
Tata Projects: New areas of business, new opportunities